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The Cemetery Tour: Mt. Olivet

While traveling to distant places, I often visit old cemeteries. While at home, on the other hand, I forget cemeteries exist. I wonder why?

The South Bay has three charming cemeteries. When I visited each, they were quite deserted. They also brimmed with little surprises and even with a little history.

La Vista Memorial Park is in the unincorporated city of Lincoln Acres. There, you’ll find the famous Kimball family at rest; they founded National City and are responsible for much of what we still have today, such as the Sweetwater Dam. You’ll also find Pauper’s Hill and the Al-Rahma Garden.

Glen Abbey Memorial Park Cemetery is in the unincorporated city of Bonita. They have a Little Chapel of the Roses, which was dedicated in 1930. The New England style church was inspired by an old church in England. This cemetery can be visited along a tour of Bonita.

A third charming cemetery exists in the little town of Nestor: Mt. Olivet. Perhaps you’ve never heard of Nestor? That’s because it was annexed to the city of San Diego in 1957 along with Otay Mesa, San Ysidro, Palm City and the Tijuana River Valley. It’s a neighborhood now and the cemetery is right smack in the middle of suburbia. If you weren’t looking for it, you’d pass it without even knowing it was a cemetery. It looks more like a garden or a park full of weeds.

Not very well kept, this little cemetery has its own history. In the 1880’s, many real estate moguls came to the South Bay believing this would be a boom town. The Tijuana hot springs were close by. The mild weather, the lemon groves and the Pacific Ocean all were going to be a draw. Most of those “boom towns” ended up being only “paper towns”–meaning, the town names were filed with the City Assessor’s Office, but never ended up being built. By the 1890’s the area suffered a massive recession and most of the real estate moguls left the area.

Hollis Monroe Peavey was one of the pioneers of Oneonta By The Sea (now known as Nestor). He founded this cemetery as well, which has fallen into terrible disrepair; that’s precisely what makes this location so charming.

Say hello to Mr. Peavey. Find the tombstones of many others who came here in the late 1800’s. Historians believe that perhaps the first Mexican-American to settle in Chula Vista is also interred here.

Address: 2127 Iris Avenue, Nestor (San Diego), CA 92154

Catalina Rodriguez

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